As it stands, Easter in Lee Park won't be happening this year. The Cedar Springs Merchants Association, which puts on the annual dog parade and get together, says that it needs to raise $20,000 by March 4 so it can cover the costs for newly enforced city events requirements.
"We have to fence in the park since we're selling alcohol," David Berryman a spokesman for the CSMA says. "The last 30 years of this event it's never been fenced. It's not a new rule it's just new to us."
The event's never been profitable, and losses over the previous four years have depleted the CSMA reserves that supported Easter in Lee Park.
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Event organizers have started a crowd-funding campaign on GoFundMe and are also looking for new corporate sponsorship.
"Ideally, I'd have some corporate sponsors; that way they could be with us year after year," Berryman says, "but we're at the point now where the normal resources and the previous contacts that we've had to look for corporate sponsors have fallen through. That's why we're asking for crowd-funding."
Easter in Lee Park isn't being singled out, Berryman says. The city permitting process for all outside events that serve booze is just being tightened up.
"The city is not trying to squash the event, we just have no money," he says. "The good thing is, if we can get the money in for this year, the vendor money and fees that we get will be the seed money for next year. We won't have to worry about it ever again."